Gently down the WOLF CRYPTIDS?!?!
Literally: circumference – badge/writing – wolf – wolf
Alternately: Confusion and commotion; getting freaked out and not knowing what to do.
Notes: This is another compound of compounds; both 周章 and 狼狽 on their own mean “panic,” “consternation.” The latter two in particular are interesting; they form an uncommon but acceptable kanji rendition of the verb urotaeru (狼狽える), “to be flustered,” “to lose one’s presence of mind.”
But beyond that, they supposedly represent a pair of cryptids: the 狼 has very short hind legs, and the 狽 has very short front legs. When together they can support each other, but when separated each can barely walk on its own. Nevertheless, in contemporary Japanese, 狼 is almost always used to refer to a regular real-world wolf, while 狽 has fallen out of usage entirely.
Replacing 狽 with 敗 (hai, which in compounds can be voiced as bai), “failure,” is considered an error.
Previous entry 右往左往 is considered a synonym.